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Hunting for budget travel in Washington DC

It’s always a dream to see the White House, but sometimes there’s just not the ready cash available. Even if you can get to Washington DC, what’s the point if everything’s too expensive, and you’ve spent all your money just getting there!

It’s an experience not to be missed though, and sometimes, you’ve just got to go. There are ways of getting there on a budget for a quick break; it’s just a matter of knowing a few tricks.

Using flight comparison sites is the best plan for booking a flight over there. The trick here is not to be too fussy about which airports you use, or when you want to travel. For best results, have a mate on standby who can give you a lift at short notice. Keeping an eye out for cheap, under-subscribed flights is a winning strategy, provided you’ve cleared your diary ahead, so pick the one that suits your wallet and go. Let’s face it, how you get there is less important than getting there. The travel comparison site momondo have an easy way to find the best flights to fit your needs.

Flights to Seattle

Most flights into Washington DC go into Dulles, and airport transfer is dirt cheap at $6 (£4) on the Metrobus, landing you straight in the middle of Washington DC. The Metrobus is Washington’s regional bus service and is the cheapest way of getting around the city. Travelling with the locals is all part of the experience, so it’s best to go native and enjoy. Getting hold of a SmarTrip card when you get there is essential, as it gives great discounts, with some routes even being free.

The Metrorail subway system is also fast and efficient, with a one day pass being $14 (£9)

When you get there, you’ll need somewhere to park your stuff and sleep, and although Washington has some posh hotels, there’s also plenty of places for the traveller on a shoestring budget. Most hotels are in the region of £60 a night, however the embassy row hotel on Massachusetts avenue averages £51 per night. For young cash strapped people, there’s a lot to recommend hostels, as they provide the cheapest way to get your head down. Washington International Student Centre is as basic as it gets, but for £15 a night, there’s not much to complain about. It has the added advantage that it’s right in the middle of Adams-Morgan, where the bars, clubs and restaurants are, so you can’t really go wrong. The object of the exercise is to have more money to see the sights, so where you sleep isn’t that important.

Getting fed on a budget is one of the easier things to do in Washington. Amongst the more upmarket places are plenty of great fast-food joints, plus many places to enjoy the all-American diner experience. Ben’s Chilli Bowl at 1213 U street once had the custom of a certain Barack Obama, who’s famous in Washington for something or other.

Washington DC can be enjoyed on a budget, so go with the flow, keep an open mind and enjoy!

Top image credit: gaensler on Flickr

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